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Using LPG safely

As Victoria’s safety regulator, ESV’s principal role is to ensure the safe and efficient supply of energy to all Victorians. This includes providing the community with information and resources on the safe use of electricity and gas, including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is easily transported and a popular energy source for cooking, heating, water heating, refrigeration and lighting on boats, in caravans, in campervans and when camping.

Outdoor LPG-fuelled appliances present a danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if used in areas with insufficient ventilation, and should never be used inside. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer – it is an odourless, colourless gas and it can be fatal or cause serious and long term health conditions.

What is LP Gas?

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is a combination of propane and butane gases. Generally, refillable cylinders contain propane while disposable cartridges contain butane. LPG is stored as a liquid under pressure and gas escapes can lead to explosions and fires.

LPG is heavier than air. It can therefore pool in low places and may not disperse easily or quickly. It is also highly flammable and easily ignited. Breathing high concentrations of LPG could cause vomiting, headaches and nausea. Always take care when using LPG.

Using LPG cylinders

Reduce safety risks when using LPG cylinders

  • Only use LPG cylinders which have been tested within the last 10 years. The cylinder should be marked with the test date.
  • Fill LPG cylinders at authorised filling stations staffed by trained personnel.
  • Carefully read and comply with the connection instructions supplied with the LPG cylinder.
  • Regularly check cylinder fittings are clean and tight. You can use soapy water to check for leaks – Know the drill before you grill.
  • Use a regulator between the LPG cylinder and the appliance being powered by the LP gas, unless the appliance is a portable type designed for high pressure gas.
  • Turn the gas off at the cylinder if you suspect a leak.
  • Only use LPG cylinders in well ventilated outdoor areas – never indoors.
  • Keep the LPG cylinder upright with its relief valves clear.
  • Place the LPG cylinder on a firm level base of non-combustible material.

Do not:

  • Overfill the LPG cylinder
  • Connect LPG cylinders to appliances designed for natural gas, or
  • Use leaking, damaged or corroded LPG cylinders.

Camping with LPG

Cylinders used in boats, campervans and caravans are typically smaller than those fixed outside the home and are generally 9 kg capacity or less. These cylinders are usually filled by decanting from a storage cylinder, at a service station or LPG supplier – not from an Autogas bowser. Exchange cylinders are readily available.

For some appliances the moderately high pressure inside the cylinder is controlled to a steady low level. Camping stoves and lamps, however, may be designed to operate directly on cylinder pressure, and some use disposable canisters.

Gas cylinder safety

  • Check all washers and O-rings on appliances and cylinders regularly
  • Never interfere with or remove the valve on any LPG cylinder
  • Do not turn the gas on until you are ready to light the appliance
  • Close the cylinder valve when appliances are not in use
  • Never use a flame to locate a leak – use soapy water,
  • Always replace the dust cap on cylinders when not in use,
  • Regulate the burner to your needs – flames should not go beyond the edge of the cooking utensil
  • Dispose of disposable canisters safely at a waste centre – do not incinerate them. Contact your local council for disposal details.

When camping

  • Never use a gas appliance inside a tent, caravan, campervan or canvas-type annex.
  • Keep gas appliances well away from the outside of a tent or annex.
  • Check all connections to portable cookers, BBQs etc. before turning on the gas cylinder – test for leaks with soapy water.

Gas safety and bushfire plans

As Victoria’s energy safety regulator, ESV works closely with the State’s Major Electricity Companies (MECs) to ensure bushfire mitigation activities are adopted and continually observed by these organisations.

Read more on gas safety tips that should be included within your bushfire plan.

Gas-fuelled cars and other vehicles

Natural Gas and LPG are used as an automotive fuel throughout Australia and around the world. In Australia, compressed Natural Gas is used on transit buses passenger vehicles and forklifts. LPG is commonly used in forklifts, passenger vehicles, vans and trucks and also supplements diesel in some large trucks.

Gas fuelled vehicles and their refuelling stations are not under the jurisdiction of Energy Safe Victoria.

Contact us

If you have any queries in relation to gas and LPG safety or our public awareness campaigns, please contact ESV on 03 9203 9700 or by email on info@energysafe.vic.gov.au.